Press Release

Thursday, November 30

AWB honors six employers for community support, overall excellence

Association of Washington Business honored 18 finalists and presented six employers awards aligned with the group’s Mission and Vision at second-annual Evening of Excellence Nov. 29

OLYMPIA —The Association of Washington Business, the state’s largest and oldest business association, presented six companies with top awards Wednesday at the group’s second-annual Evening of Excellence at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

The award recipients, selected from 18 finalists, were recognized for exemplifying the innovation, community spirit and environmental stewardship that make Washington a great place to live and work.

“The award finalists – from a world-renowned national lab to a local skin-care product manufacturer – illustrate the diversity and innovation of Washington state’s employers,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “Each of them were deserving of praise and recognition for all they do to improve lives, strengthen communities and create economic opportunity here and around the world.”

The six award categories align with AWB’s Mission and Vision statements.

Employer of the Year: Recognizes an employer that has implemented innovative job retention, creation, benefits, and/or compensation plans that foster a thriving work environment.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, which designs and builds digital products that protect power systems around the world, took home the Employer of the Year award for its commitment to its employee-owners and the community. The company is expanding its Pullman facility, creating an additional 850 jobs, and is a first-adopter of on-site, no-copay employee health clinics in 2012 to serve its employees and their families. The company is 100 percent employee owned.

The other finalists for the Employer of the Year Award were Tacoma’s Rite in the Rain and Sumner-based Bellmont Cabinet Company.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Given to an entrepreneur whose business is less than five years-old and has made a significant impact in their industry.

Bellingham-based Aslan Brewing received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for its focus on locally-sourced goods and environmentally friendly practices, offering customers a sustainable product. The brewery is a Certified B Corporation, which requires a rigorous review and inspection process and takes into account the comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance of the entire business. The company is also committed to preserving local management, contributing to the community through donations, and fostering a strong relationship with its workforce.

The other finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award were C2S Technologies in Bellevue and Schilling Cider in Auburn.

Achieve Award: Recognizes a business that has excelled in creating, implementing or supporting a high-caliber education and/or workforce development system aligned with closing the employment gap.

Richland-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory received this year’s Achieve Award. The lab was recognized for its efforts its ongoing support of STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, curricula within Washington’s K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to create awareness of the high-tech careers available to the next generation of workforce.

The other finalists for the Achieve Award were Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, or AJAC.

Connect Award: Recognizes a business whose products and/or services have positively impacted the way in which Washington employers and communities are connected to each other and the world.

The Connect Award was presented to Alaffia, the Tumwater-based skin-care product manufacturer. Founded in 2003, this fair-trade skin and body care company was recognized for its efforts to alleviate poverty and promote gender equality in the West African nation of Togo through its sustainable sourcing of raw materials from the country that are then manufactured here in Washington state.

The other finalists for the Connect Award were Bellevue’s Expedia and Frontier Communications, located in Everett.

Leading Environmental Practices Award: Recognizes a business that has placed a priority on environmental improvement, education or outreach to its business sector and/or community.

Earth Friendly Products took home the award for Leading Environmental Practices. The company has made green manufacturing a priority since 1967. In 2010, Earth Friendly Products switched to 100 percent renewable energy and achieved carbon neutrality in all of its five locations, including Lacey, Wash. As a result, the company avoids emissions of 54 million pounds of carbon dioxide each year. The company is the recipient of numerous sustainability and green leadership awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other groups.

The other finalists for the Leading Environmental Practices Award were Honeywell International, Inc., in Redmond and Nucor Steel Seattle.

Advance Award: Recognizes a business that has had a significant cause-oriented impact in its sector and/or community and contributed to the advancement of the economy.

Seattle’s A&R Solar received this year’s Advance Award. A&R Solar founders Andy Yatteau and Reeves Clippard began operations a decade ago as a solar installation company. Today, the company lends its expertise to employers of all sizes and homeowners to find the right solar system fit for their needs. The company then helps design, build and maintain those solar energy systems. To date, A&R Solar has completed 1,200 solar projects, including Washington state’s largest solar project on the roof of new Ikea store in Renton, totaling more than 10 megawatts of clean energy.

The other finalists for the Advance Award were WGU Washington and the Western Institutional Review Board, based in Puyallup.

For high resolution photos of the award finalists and winners, use this link.

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